Sclerosing cholangitis.

K. D. Lillemoe, H. A. Pitt, J. L. Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


PSC is an unusual disease of unknown etiology. In fact, sclerosis of the bile ducts may be the result of multiple factors, including autoimmune, bacterial, congenital, drug, or viral agents. The most commonly associated diseases are ulcerative colitis and chronic pancreatitis. Except for the earliest stages of the disease, liver histology is not specific. Most patients present with jaundice, pain, and pruritis, although an increasing number of asymptomatic patients with inflammatory bowel disease and abnormal liver function are being diagnosed. Cholangiography is the key to the diagnosis and is usually pathognomonic except in the unusual case where PSC is confused with cholangiocarcinoma. Multiple forms of medical therapy have been tried, including steroids, azothiaprine, D-penicillamine, colchicine, cholestyramine, and antibiotics. To date, however, none of these medications has altered the course of this disease. In recent years, balloon dilation of biliary strictures has been accomplished via endoscopic and percutaneous transhepatic approaches. However, in patients with PSC these nonoperative manipulations must be done repeatedly, may require multiple general anesthetics, and are difficult to perform. A direct surgical approach to the biliary tree with prolonged transhepatic stenting is indicated in patients with severe hilar or extrahepatic stricturing, persistent jaundice and/or recurrent cholangitis, and no evidence of cirrhosis. Hepatic transplantation should be reserved for patients with PSC who have well-established cirrhosis and in whom other therapeutic options have failed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-92
Number of pages28
JournalAdvances in surgery
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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